Marijuana terpenes are as important as any other cannabinoid compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Pinene is one of the major terpenes and even though it is not abundant in cannabis plants like myrcene, it is the most abundant in plants generally.
Research studies have confirmed the numerous benefits of pinene in the body. Most of its actions are to complement the effects of cannabinoid compounds, especially tetrahydrocannabinol.
The paranoia effect that may accompany excess use of marijuana, for instance, has been discovered to be mitigated by pinene. This means heavy users of marijuana strains rich in pinene, such as Chemdawg91 and Trainwreck, will experience paranoia lesser than others smoking strains lower in pinene.
Also, you are bound to feel the effect of pinene in the form of increased alertness and focus. This is perfect for effectively handling daily tasks as well as neurological conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are a smoker of cannabis and usually get choked by the smoke of your marijuana, this could also be reduced through strains with high content of pinene. It is potent in acting as a bronchodilator, and thus could be used to treat respiratory diseases.
Pinene offers many health benefits and at the same time enhances the flavor (pine) and taste (cedarwood) of your preferred marijuana strains.
Pinene is one of the major terpene compounds of marijuana, mostly found in sativa strains. Just as the name implies, it is notable for its pine aroma. Even though the smell is distinctive, pinene effects on a user of marijuana exceeds its contribution to its flavor and aroma. It has been reported to mitigate the “high” effect of the THC in any strain it may be present.
Plants secrete terpenes like pinene from their trichomes to protect themselves against predators. Trichomes are tiny structures of the cannabis plant situated at the tip of the bud. The taste and enjoyment experienced while consuming cannabis plants are determined by the products of the trichomes.
A quick fact: Pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature. This means it is not only found in marijuana but also in most herbal plants.
Pinene comes in two varieties ― alpha (α) pinene and beta (β) pinene. The pine aroma of pinene is a characteristic of the alpha variety while the β-pinene is characterized by fir, rosemary, and dill odor.
However, α-pinene is the most abundant of the two varieties. It offers cedarwood, pine, and sharp flavor.
Not everybody loves a chemistry class, but sometimes it can help us to better understand a chemical compound such as pinene terpene.
Pinene is a bicyclic monoterpene compound. Terpenes and terpenoids are analogous terms. You might most likely have heard them being described as “essential oils.”
Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds (consisting of carbon and hydrogen only) while terpenoids, in addition to their hydrocarbon constituent, also have oxidized elements attached.
Therefore, the chemical structure of pinene contains hydrogen and carbon only. On close observation, α-pinene is a clear colorless liquid that is denser than water (0.00004 g/L at 68oF). It can be ignited at the 91oF flashpoint while its boiling point is 311oF. Deducing from the foregoing sentence, pinene will catch fire when heated to 91oF and would change to vapor when heated to 311oF.
Terpene pinene has been reported to increase alertness and elevate mood when consumed. It also inhibits secretion of acetylcholinesterase, a brain enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. That is, it encourages the retention and secretion of acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is a neurotransmitter that promotes interneuron communication in the brain. Conditions like fatigue and deep sleep (NREM) have been linked to a reduced secretion of acetylcholinesterase in the brain. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine in the brain. This inhibition means that there will be enough acetylcholine neurotransmitter in the brain. Therefore, you will remain agile to perform your daily activities. A study has provided evidence that inhibition of acetylcholine breakdown reduces the progression of Alzheimer disease.
Also, the “high” effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been noted to be suppressed by pinene. This is known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a cannabis term that refers to the buffer property of non-psychoactive compounds on the psychoactive compounds.
If you are scared of the cough associated with smoking cannabis, strains rich in pinene may be a good fit for you ― the pinene terpene compound is a bronchodilator (it opens and expand the airways).
The alertness effect of pinene makes it effective in treating neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and depression.
People who smoke marijuana in excess may become paranoid, but with the aid of pinene, the negative sensation can be suppressed. This is another reason why it is effective in treating mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
For centuries, it has also been used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma. Its expectorant and antimicrobial properties also make it useful in preventing and curing lung diseases caused by microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.
There is a general conception that cannabis (street name: Weed) can cause focus and memory loss. Pinene, on the other hand, has been discovered to improve focus and elevate memory functioning.
The most significant medical use of pinene is its potential to reduce the size of cancerous tumors; thus, it could also be an anti-cancer substance.
Other Applications of Pinene
Aside from being directly ingested or smoked, pinene is being used in aromatherapy, as supplements or food additives, and in cosmetics.
Research Studies on Pinene
Pinene is one of the most researched terpenes due to its wide beneficial health effects.
- Effect of Pinene on Airways
For many centuries, this potential of pinene has been explored and leveraged. You may have experienced it too but might not notice. When hiking through a pine forest, you will feel your lungs open and be able to breathe better. That is the bronchodilator effect of pinene.
A study published in the Journal of Inhalation Toxicology reported that α-pinene is an effective bronchodilator. It helps to open and expand the respiratory paths (airways), which is a significant characteristic of conditions like asthma. Since it opens up airways, it can be put to good use by workers of any company located in a dusty environment ― likewise, for people involved in cleaning operations.
- Antimicrobial Property of Pinene
Where most standard antibiotics failed, pinene triumphed. A study that evaluated the potency of α-pinene and β-pinene revealed they could reduce bacteria that cause infectious endocarditis (IE). IE attacks the inner part of the heart valves called the endocardium. The most surprising part of the research revelation is that pinene also proves effective in destroying some bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics like gentamicin.
Bronchitis virus is a disease-causing organism that is hard to treat since antibiotics are ineffective in treating viruses. A study published in 2011 reported that pinene effortlessly attacks the infectious bronchitis virus ― another win for marijuana where conventional medicine failed.
- Anti-Inflammatory Potency of Pinene
The anti-inflammatory property of pinene was recorded in a research conducted by Ethan Russo and published in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Acute pancreatitis is characterized by a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Its underlying cause remains unknown, and most patients end up dead in spite of treatment. When a 2012 study examined the effect of pinene on this ailment, it was discovered to be potent in treating it. This efficacy is accrued to the fact that pinene is an anti-inflammatory compound.
Other conditions the anti-inflammatory property of pinene could be leveraged to treat include multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and arthritis.
- Focus and Memory Retention Function of Pinene
A reduced level of acetylcholine has been linked to loss of focus and short-term memory. In a study examining the relationship between acetylcholine and pinene, it was discovered that pinene encourages retention of the neurotransmitter in the brain. The researcher noted that this could be effective in alleviating mental disorders like Alzheimer’s.
- Anti-Cancer Property of Pinene
Although the biological effects of pinene have been studied by various researchers over many years, none has considered detail research of its neurotoxicity. This is what inspired the researchers of the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Atatürk University in Erzurum, Turkey to embark on such. Although the researchers called for further research to be conducted to ascertain the effects of pinene, they did not dispute that pinene is an effective anticancer agent. The conclusion of their abstract is thus; “Overall our results suggest that α-pinene is of a … therapeutic use as an anticancer agent.”
To enjoy the health benefits of pinene, there are marijuana strains highly rich in the terpene which you can use.
- Bubba Kush
A heavy indica strain with the reputation of tranquilizing effects. Although the strain is 100% indica, you will still maintain some form of euphoria and happiness of which could be accrued to pinene.
After consuming the strain, you will experience a clear head and would be able to intelligently converse with people.
The strain is known for alleviating insomnia, stress, ADD/ADHD, chronic pain, loss of appetite, and depression.
- Haze Berry
This is a sativa-dominant (80% sativa, 20% indica) marijuana strain with pinene terpene. The THC content of the strain is about 20 percent. You can expect a euphoric and relaxed “high.” This state is notable for creativity as you will get more work done perfectly than usual.
Good for treating chronic pain, depression, fatigue, inflammation, and stress.
- Chemdawg 91
The history of chemdawg 91 dates back to 1991 when the hybrid strain (50% indica, 50% sativa) was sold to the breeder Chemdog. Its THC and CBD level is about 27 and 0.2 percent respectively.
The strain is effective in treating medical conditions like muscle and joint pains, mood disorders, anxiety, nausea, and movement disorders.
Trainwreck cannabis strain lives up to its name every time it is consumed. The effect will hit you like a train within a few minutes after consumption. Its euphoric effects make it efficient in treating anxiety. Most patients use it for treating conditions such as migraine, arthritis, bipolar disorder, PTSD, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
- White widow
White widow is a household name in the community of cannabis lovers worldwide. This popularity is not reducing soon thanks to the Weeds television show and references within the rap industry. A typical Amsterdam café (coffee shop) is sure to have it on their menu.
The strain makes you relax while at the same time mentally alert and focused. Ailments it has proven potent to treat include bipolar disorder, chronic pain, depression, fatigue, headaches, and PTSD.
Other strains high in pinene include;
- Arjan’s haze
- Great white shark
- Himalayan gold
- Jack herer
- Super Silver Haze
Pinene bioavailability is high ― about 60 percent pulmonary uptake with quick distribution around the body. You can be guaranteed of getting most of the pinene in the marijuana strain you choose to consume.
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